International Women’s Day celebrations launched with a call for equality for all
Compiled by Aidah Nanyonjo
On March 6, 2022, hundreds of women and men joined a march on the streets of Port Moresby to kickstart celebrations to mark International Women’s Day. The "Walk for life' event was officiated by Governor Powes Parkop and attended by country representatives and staff from the United Nations in Papua New Guinea. Other dignitaries were from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Australian High Commission.
Speaking at the event, Caroline Nyamayemombe, UN Women deputy country representative, noted that the current effects of climate change on lives require a gender perspective if Papua New Guinea (PNG) is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Agenda 2030 within the target timeframe. She said it was time for PNG to recognize the role women play in climate-change mitigation and adaptation.
Nyamayemombe said, “We are already experiencinghigh temperatures, draughts, and floods. All these affect our lives. They have causedfood and water shortages. They also affect the health systems.For us at UN Women we say that women must be involved in the interventions and processes to address climate-change effects in this country.”
Governor Powes Parkop of the National Capital District and Port Moresby urged the public to embrace gender equality, saying that it isGoal Number Two of the Papua New Guinea Constitution, which calls for equality and participation.
“Gender equality is not a foreign concept,” he said. “It is a demand, call and goal that is embedded in our constitution.” Parkop showed disappointment over continued marginalization of women and girls in Papua New Guinea, despite the clause being in the constitution. “The situation facing women in our country is disappointing.The statistics is not good in terms of equality. Men dominate every sector including parliament and public service. Womencarry the burden of our nation but are not recognized. They are not given equal opportunities. GBV [gender-based violence] is still high. Over 58,000 people especially women and children have been treated in health facilities due to GBV and sexual violence last year.”
For an inclusive growth, Parkop called for equality of all citizens, men, women, and children to benefit from the resources of the state, and to have equal opportunity to participate in all forms of development of the country as well as realize their goals.
The head of JICA in Papua New Guinea Masato Koinuma said that promoting gender equality and women’sempowerment is key to achieving sustainable and equitable development. “Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a crucial driver for poverty reduction, social, economic and political development ofPapua New Guinea,” he said.
Masato pledged JICA’s commitment to partner with UN agencies to support the government to address gender equality and promote women’s empowerment in PNG. The walk was organized by the Active City Development Program with support from development partners.